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August 23, 2009

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Kenyans finish 1-2 in marathon

ABEL Kirui and Emmanuel Mutai made sure Kenya is keeping an edge over Ethiopia at the world championships in Berlin, finishing 1-2 yesterday in the men's marathon.

The intense African rivalry for medal supremacy might well have been decided under the Brandenburg Gate when the two Kenyans ran Tsegay Kebede of Ethiopia into submission in the fastest marathon in world championship history.

"We ran as a team," said Mutai, who had to let his teammate go to finish in 2 hours, 6 minutes, 54 seconds because an upset stomach reduced him to vomiting over the final stages.

The 1-2 finish gave Kenya three golds and eight overall, and left Ethiopia with one gold and five overall. Later in the day, defending champion Meseret Defar will try to make it a tight medal race in the women's 5,000 final, which Ethiopia could sweep.

Most eyes though, will be centered on double sprint champion Usain Bolt, who will repeat that rhetorical question he has answered over and over again over the past week - "Who faster?"

As if anyone still questions what has been written on billboards and T-shirts across Berlin for weeks.

But he will need a little help from his Jamaican friends.

The Jamaican-US battle for sprint domination comes to a close with the 4x100 relay finals, and with the Caribbean island leading 3-1.

American sprinter Allyson Felix is responsible for keeping the fight from turning into another Olympian rout. Late on Friday, she won her third straight 200-meter title, beating Olympic champion Veronica Campbell-Brown.

Last year, the Jamaicans won 5-0.

But while Felix completed a hat-trick of 200 world titles on Friday fellow American Jeremy Wariner's bid to match her in the men's 400 failed when he lost again to compatriot LaShawn Merritt.

Smooth-striding Felix triumphed in 22.02 seconds to beat double Olympic champion Campbell-Brown while Merritt's success completed a personal double after he beat Wariner having already taken his Olympic title last year.

Merritt finished in 44.06 to the 44.60 of his rival, with Rennie Quow of Trinidad & Tobago third in 45.02.

Russia's Yaroslav Rybakov won the men's high jump and Australian Dani Samuels the women's discus.


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